Giving women testosterone after they go through the menopause may boost their sex drive, researchers find
- ‘Male hormone’ reduced post-menopausal women’s anxiety over sex
- Researchers want testosterone therapies to be marketed for women
- Hormone is known to boost a woman’s libido and help her achieve orgasm
Giving women testosterone after the menopause could boost their sex drive, research suggests.
A review of 36 previous trials, involving 8,500 women, found testosterone patches, gels and sprays improved sexual desire, pleasure and function.
The authors said these forms were preferable to testosterone pills as they came with fewer side effects.
Taking testosterone boosts a woman’s sex drive after the menopause (stock)
Professor Susan Davis from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, said: ‘Our results suggest it is time to develop testosterone treatment tailored to postmenopausal women rather than treating them with higher concentrations formulated for men.
‘Nearly a third of women experience low sexual desire at midlife, with associated distress.
‘But no approved testosterone formulation or product exists for them in any country and there are no internationally-agreed guidelines for testosterone use by women.
‘Considering the benefits we found for women’s sex lives and personal well-being, new guidelines and new formulations are urgently needed.’
The research team, writing in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, said testosterone contributes to libido and orgasm as well as helping to maintain normal metabolic function, muscle strength, cognitive function and mood.
Levels decline naturally over a woman’s lifespan.
Professor Davis added: ‘The beneficial effects for postmenopausal women shown in our study extend beyond simply increasing the number of times a month they have sex.
‘Some women who have regular sexual encounters report dissatisfaction with their sexual function, so increasing their frequency of a positive sexual experience from never, or occasionally, to once or twice a month can improve self-image and reduce sexual concerns, and may improve overall well-being.’
WHAT IS THE MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is defined as the changes a woman goes through just before and after she stops her periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
Some women go through this time with few, if any, symptoms, around 60 percent experience symptoms resulting in behavioral changes and one in four will suffer severely.
Common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex, disrupted sleep, decreased sex drive, problems with memory and concentration and mood swings.
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51, according to the NHS.